Welcome to Aton Forest

Aton Forest, Inc. was formed to preserve the lands assembled by Dr. Frank E. Egler as a Research Natural Area and to continue the low impact, long-term ecological research that he pioneered. The organization also maintains an archive of Dr. Egler ’s written material and library, and curates a portion of his house and furnishings as an informal museum. The aim is to preserve and continue the physical and intellectual legacy of our founder.
Asters Demystified

Thursday, October 3, 2019


Led by Bill Moorhead, consulting botanist
9 am – 4 pm

We will cover the identification and ecology of most of the 32 southern New England species of asters (genera AsterDoellingeriaEuribiaIonactisOclemena, and Symphyotrichum) and some of the hybrids.  The workshop will begin with a lab session at Aton Forest, in which we will cover the basics of aster identification and the species we will not see in the field.  We will then car-pool to several field sites in the vicinity of Aton Forest, where we will cover field identification of the species that occur in northwest Connecticut.  The discussions of species ecology will include wetland indicator value of each species.  This workshop will run, rain or shine.  If the weather is too bad for field work, we will extend the lab session, using fresh and pressed collected material.  Participants are encouraged to bring specimens.  This workshop is suitable for both aster beginners and more experienced botanists to whom asters are a challenge. This workshop is co-sponsored with the Connecticut Botanical Society.

Location: beginning at Aton Forest Headquarters, 270 N. Colebrook Rd. Norfolk, CT

Naturalistic Landscaping with Native Wildflower and Fern Identification
Saturday, August 3rd from 9 am to 12 pm

Naturalistic Landscaping appeals to the kind of person who likes wild nature, modified just a bit… He is willing to tip the scales of nature with one finger, not spend his life trying to grow plants in anti-ecological unnaturalness.
-Warren G. Kenfield, 1966. The Wild Gardener in the Wild Landscape.

Studying natural and lightly managed vegetation can help us to understand how we can maintain an attractive landscape while working within ecologically sound principles. This workshop, led by John Anderson, will guide you through the process of naturalistic landscaping following the Egler/Kenfiled method. There will also be a significant amount of plant identification, for knowing what you have is the first step in the process.

The workshop is limited to the first 16 people who register. Please email or call in advance: contact@atonforest.org; 860-248-1053. This is a free-will donation event. Donations support Aton Forest's ongoing education programs. This is part of Weekend In Norfolk. Check out the other activities happening from August 2 - 4.


Meet at Aton Forest Headquarters, 270 North Colebrook Road, Norfolk. For more information go to the Aton Forest website.

This program is part of Weekend In Norfolk, August 2-4. Check out the other activities available.


Plan on bringing sunscreen, insect repellant, and appropriate dress for the outdoors and weather.


John Anderson is Executive Director of Aton Forest Inc., and the Aton Forest Fellow, continuing the research established by founder Frank Egler. John is an ecologist who studies vegetation science, leads land management and conservation projects, and gives educational programs on the art and science of naturalistic landscaping and related topics.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed!!!

A Fundraiser To Benefit Aton Forest
Sunday, June 2nd, 12:30 - 3:00 pm
Buffet Luncheon and Talk
St. Joseph Church Bitterman Center, 2 Daisy Hill Road, Canaan CT
A Northwestern Regional Student-Organized
"Kindness in Motion" Project 

Workshops Announced!

Go to our Workshops page and see all the upcoming workshops.

There will be programs on amphibians, birds, sedges, botany, landscaping, floodplain vegetation, asters, and mushrooms. Check it out!

Coming Soon

Secrets of Sedge Identification & Ecology

July 16 thru 17

Bill Moorhead will lead another Aton Forest Advanced Workshop. This plant identification workshop focuses on field identification, ecology, and indicator value of genus Carex, i.e. the “sedges”, the most diverse genus of vascular plants in Connecticut.  Considered by many a “cryptic” group, the sedges are actually a well-behaved taxonomic group with relatively little hybridization. The workshop will emphasize development of field identification skills. An evening lab session will be help in the evening of July 9th. We will begin at AF Hq and then carpool to various locations to see plants in their natural habitats. Check back for more information and to register. Co-sponsored with the Connecticut Botanical Society.


Please consider giving generously to keep the mission of Aton Forest alive. Thank you.